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Discussion Starter #1
What is your policy? "There they are. Pick out the one you want."? Or "I'll choose one for you."?

I'm going to go w/ the "Pick out the one you want" policy from now on.
 

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Trying to put the responsibility for choosing the nuc they want on their shoulders. So, yeah, I am.

If someone looks through my nucs and picks out one they like and then a month later they complain about it to me, well, they picked it, not me. What do you want me to do? That's my pov.
 

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We have a few "rules". And yes, this is to cover my butt in the long run.

1) we wont sell bees to just anyone. You have to have at least some base knowledge of beekeeping. We are least require them to read a book. Usually Beekeeping for Dummies. The reason is that a few years ago, we really got into a pickle with selling bees to people why had no clue what they were doing and complained whenthe bees died over winter time.

2) if it is a newbee (and you can pretty much tell when you speak to them), we have a waiver that they sign which covers silly stuff that we beekeepers take for granted because we are in this business. Like stings (this is a stinging insect), no guareentees, etc.

3) I do open each hive before I sell them the nuc. I usually dont let them pick because it is not the nature of our set up. I have a few nucs at the house and then we open one up. I know before hand that they are queen right and the mixture of brood to honey to pollen and a builder frame are right on.

4) I do offer delivery for a charge. It is to cover my time and traveling.... plus breakfest! :)

We only produce a small amount of nucs and queens each year and we do not take a waiting list. I place an ad when they ready and we go from there. No big deal if they dont sell because they are in production anyways1 :)
 

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I choose the nuc for each customer. Most of the nucs(5 frame) I sell I will place into the customers 10 frame box with 5 of there frames. I will show the customer the queen, brood, honey, and pollen that is in the nuc. My policy is that once the nuc leaves my yard it is no longer under my control so there is no guarantee. I always have a few customers that will call about a month later and say their queen died so they want a replacement. If I have queens available I will sell them another queen. Since she was laying well and was shown to the customer before the nuc was taken the queens disappearance was out of my control.

Experienced beekeepers know the good and bad that can happen with a hive but the beginners have to learn somehow, I did.
 

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i tell my customers that they can do what every they want, if they want to look through every one thats fine but once they say its good its there's. that way there are no problems down the road.
 

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We pick them out. We don't want to open the nucs when they will fly and get left behind plus we like the frames to be glued in when picked up, minimizing the risk of queen loss during transport. They've been assessed within a few days prior to pickup.
I cannot imagine taking the time to watch a customer going through your nucs until they find one they like, that extra time eats up profits. As Shannon mentioned, experienced beekeepers know what to expect.
While we wouldn't have a problem with an experienced beek buying multiple units taking a peek at what they were getting, the ones and twosies would just be too time consuming and the newbies might not know what they are looking for anyway.
This is where developing a good track record helps. People will trust you if you give them good value and treat them fairly.

We do take a bit more time with the newbies, both before and after purchase.
We stress education by offering a selection of books, suggesting one of several beginner classes available in spring and pointing them to the best site for beekeeping info out there, Beesource. We answer questions on everything from recommended equipment to the importance of feeding to get a new colony established. Many are surprised to find it is a little more complex than they initially thought and this often spurs the research on their part required for success. By the time they purchase, most grasp that their colonies' success or failure rests mainly in their hands.
Most of this time is spent prior to purchase via emails and the initial telephone inquiries, but even after purchase, there are many times when a quick answer to a simple question can save a colony and result in a successful first year for that new beekeeper.
Sheri
 

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.... Give those <strong nucs> to newbies installing them on foundation, and you can bet they will swarm.
Don't ya hate it when that happens? What's even worse is if the weather turns bad and they aren't fed. Those big nucs can starve so quickly. Few things in beekeeping are more heartbreaking.....
Education is so important.
Sheri
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Education is so important.
Sheri
I agree, it is. Since I have paid for mine in so many ways, should I charge for it in the price of ther nuc? Or consider that when I sell a nuc, that I am obligated to teach the buyer? I have expected that the buyer knew enuf to ask questions. Do I, as the seller, need to do an "Adoption Interview" to see if the buyer is a fit "parent" for my bees? And then reject some buyers? Or what?

Education is expensive. Part of that expense is that some nucs may swarm and some may go drone layer and some will die over winter. How far should I go? How much is this reflected in the price?

Should I charge Northern Orchards, an outfit that clearly knows what they are doing w/ bees, a different price than I do Jane Doe who couldn't get her package from some supplier and called me at the last minute? Who is getting bees for the first time as far as I know? I don't even usually keep a list of people that I sell nucs to.
 

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>>Since I have paid for mine in so many ways, should I charge for it in the price of ther nuc? Or consider that when I sell a nuc, that I am obligated to teach the buyer? I have expected that the buyer knew enuf to ask questions. Do I, as the seller, need to do an "Adoption Interview" to see if the buyer is a fit "parent" for my bees? And then reject some buyers? Or what?<<

IMO, you should pass on what you know for the better of the beekeeping community as a whole. Did not someone help you when you were still green about the gills? You know they did.

>>Education is expensive. Part of that expense is that some nucs may swarm and some may go drone layer and some will die over winter. How far should I go? How much is this reflected in the price?<<

I think the price should be the price. Going the extra distance will only benefit both you and beekeeping.

>>Should I charge Northern Orchards, an outfit that clearly knows what they are doing w/ bees, a different price than I do Jane Doe who couldn't get her package from some supplier and called me at the last minute? Who is getting bees for the first time as far as I know? I don't even usually keep a list of people that I sell nucs to.<<

You mean should you take advantage of Jane? Why be like everyone else?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Nah, Mike, you know I'm not that kinda guy. I'm just angry about someone who I thought was a friend, who I expected to call me and ask for help if something I sold him wasn't what he expected or wasn't doing well. Instead he just said that I sold him crap. And when i said, "Alright, come get two more. No charge." He just kept saying "You sold me crap Mark. You sold me crap."

What am I to do? Just shrug it off and choke it up to experience. Add that to the cost of doing business? Call that a part of my continuing eductaion?

D. All of the above.

Gotta go get some more graphics on the van and sell some more honey. See ya.
 

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IMO, you should pass on what you know for the better of the beekeeping community as a whole. Did not someone help you when you were still green about the gills? You know they did.

I think the price should be the price. Going the extra distance will only benefit both you and beekeeping.

I agree with Michael 100%

I was lucky to buy my first three nucs from "Dancing Bee Apiaries", so I went back and got two more. My five colonies are all three boxes high now.
Todd the owner had time to go with me and one other customer open several hives, get some brood, some honey some extra shakes of bees, so basically I felt as we were building nucs together.Nice experience for a newbee
Satisfied with bees, and the apiarist I ordered ten more for next spring
 

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I got back into beekeeping after a long layoff. Admittedly, back when I first kept bees, I had never heard of the word "nuc" except with a different spelling and more deadly connotation. Back in the game, I'm keying up to have nucs for sale in a year from this coming spring and there are a few rules that expect to work by.

1. In all my business experience, I made a point of never selling anything that I wouldn't buy myself because of the quality. In the yard now, I see weak and strong nucs, am working to make them all strong and recognize that there may be losers that I wouldn't buy myself.

2. A person I respect, have bought nucs and queens from in the past and posts here on Beesource regularly has a policy posted on her website indicating that a customer should demonstrate that they have experience, taken a beekeeping course or has a mentor. I like that policy. There are ample opportunities for aspiring beekeepers here in Maine to learn the basics of providing for the needs of their new charges and one should avail themselves of them before taking charge of living creatures.

3. I aspire to becoming a mentor to some new beeks (and hope I am now to my daughter.) A lot of people have helped me to get started and, 20 something years later, restarted. Nobody expects repayment for their help except to have their knowledge and experience passed on down the path.

4. I expect to become outrageously wealthy and expand my bee yards across America, (or at least across the blue states.) That, of course, has more to do with the Powerball gods than my business plan or bee sense.

5. When it isn't fun anymore, go back to engineering.

Wayne
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So, I guess it looks like I should, A. Not sweat the one complaint out of over one hundred sold, but learn from it., B. Raise my price, but keep better track of customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction., C. Access the level of experience of potential buyers and treat them accordingly., D. Expect the odd curveball of being in business.
 

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I bought a large quantity of nucs out of Florida to resell to local beekeepers in Missouri, many of them first or second year beekeepers.

I sorted out the best to sell and kept the runts back for myself for my own expansion. Not all nucs are created equal and I think it's an unreasonable assumption to think they should be. I generally grade them as a 1, 2 or 3 based on strength. I steer the customer to the better nucs then let them pick.

From there, generally, they are on their own. I want them to be happy and successful and did replace some bum queens that I raised from my own stock. I'm in it for the money...but not necessarily at their expense! I have a reputation to defend and I'm willing to work with any dissatisfaction.

All the best,

Grant
Jackson, MO
 

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Mark:

e)- change friends.
You tried to do the man right by offering 2 other nucs and he's still not happy. At a minimum he should have thanked you to acknowledge your efforts to right a so called wrong. Sounds like you should have offered him 200 pounds of honey, you know for the loss of honey from the "crap" you sold him:) He sounds like the kind of person who is not very easily satisfied and easily dissatisfied. I know it's kinda hard not to take it at heart but try not to take it personally. I know that I would not sell any more nucs to that individual. Criticism can be good but the kind that was given to you, most people I know can go without.

Jean-Marc
 
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